Apple Family Development

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time where we drop what we’re doing and cross the country (or maybe just the city), to join our friends and family for some joyous holiday celebrations.

I guess most people enjoy spending time with family…I don’t. They’re annoying, insipid, and any time I spend with them, my outlook can be best described as: begrudged. I’d rather spend time with people I actually care about: My friends, or the internet.

For the most part, any special occasion or event is just an excuse to spend time with the people you love: friends and/or family. The events themselves don’t matter.

No one really cares about Christmas…not really. They care about giving/receiving gifts; and spending time with loved ones, talking, catching up, and maybe bonding through a few casual games.

Once you get a bunch of people together in the same room, they tend to make their own fun. You don’t need to plan anything in order for people to have a good time. Bring some food, drinks, maybe some music, and you’re set.

Unfortunately, not everyone realizes this. Many parent try to schedule their kids lives down to the minute. Others plan social events with so much detail, that no one gets any time to sit down, relax and do their own thing.

Which leads me perfectly into this week’s episode of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, as Applejack organizes this year’s Apple Family Reunion and, as expected, completely messes it up.

We open with Applejack digging an old quilt out of the rafters. Granny Smith is excited about the regular Apple Family Reunion, which happens once every hundred moons.

Time to bring out my math chops: Assuming a “moon” is a month, and there are twelve in a year, then the Apple Family Reunion occurs once every 8.3 years; or eight years, four months. So knowing that, why is it, that in the fourth episode, Applejack said the dozen or so relatives we saw in the premiere were there for the reunion. If that’s true, that means eight years have passed since then and nopony’s aged a day! Apple Bloom should be a rebellious teenager by now!

But she’s not. Instead she’s still her cute, sweet, short self, and in charge of the tallying of the RSVPs. Seems they’re looking at 100% turn out, which shocks Granny Smith, which in turn shocks me. One would think she would expect, or at least hope for, every invited pony to turn up. But she’s not, she’s surprised…I guess that’s never happened before.

Apple Bloom also announces the return of Babs Seed. Who you might remember from four episodes ago, as the episode’s antagonist…they made up.

So Granny explains the amount of work that goes into setting up the reunion, and the old mare isn’t as young as she used to be. So the rest of the family volunteer to provide whatever help they can. Wait, was she originally supposed to do everything single-hoofed? That’s insane!

But then Applejack volunteers to lead the preparations, so Granny can enjoy herself. So Granny starts telling stories of past reunions, so her granddaughter has an idea of what to do.

They’re good stories, especially the one about Auntie Apple Sauce. God damn it! Why can’t Granny Smith be my grandmother!? She’s awesome!

We get to see baby Applejack, who has an insatiable appetite, and a young Granny Smith failing at sewing. Then we see her in the seven-legged race with Apple Rose, one of her cousins. It’s where you tie one of your forelegs to someone else’s foreleg. But now I’m thinking: Would a six-legged race add, or remove some of the challenge there? I don’t know, I’m not a horse.

Then Applejack realizes something: a 100% turn out may never happen again. This is a singular opportunity, and because of this, she’ll need to make this the best reunion ever!

Applejack stays up much of the night planning things out, to the point where, as she puts it, they won’t have a minute’s rest…as if that was a good thing.

The next morning, they get to work preparing for the reunion. You know, we’ve never seen Apple Bloom buck before. I always assumed she was too young, and didn’t have enough strength. I guess you gotta start somewhere, but still.

Rarity, Pinkie and Rainbow Dash all provide supplies or services to the event…oh, and Spike, whose flame is activated as if he’s a cigarette lighter. Of course Rarity refuses to accompany her assistance with a visual gag, like the others did. That pretentious little…whatever…

So after all that, the entire family arrives en-masse, which seems impossible to me. Unless they all waited around the corner until someone shouted: “NOW!!!” I mean they came from all over Equestria! Does it really make sense for them to all arrive at the same time? Some’ll be early, some’ll be late, very few’ll be precisely on time. I guess that’s a general characteristic we can attribute to the Apple Family: freakishly punctual. I guess that’s why Braeburn was so upset over seven minutes of tardiness in his last appearance.

So Applejack greets the crowd, and announces the events planned. To start, they have an obstacle course for the foals, while the adults make fritters or a giant quilt.

Apple Bloom meets up with Babs, and they start to catch up, but are quickly interrupted by Applejack, who shows them to the obstacle course.

It starts with…you know what, I don’t even care, and neither should you! Just know it’s stupid, and makes no sense.

Apple Bloom agrees with me, but she doesn’t actually object. They start on the seven-legged race, but no one told Applejack those things are supposed to be relatively short. There’s enough challenge in syncing with your partner, you don’t need to run a marathon at the same time.

Meanwhile, Applejack introduces Granny Smith and her cousins to the new quilting station she set up, replacing the rocking chairs, and needle and thread, with three gas-powered sewing machines. They get to work, but can’t actually talk and bond like they used to, since the machines are too loud.

At the fritter makin’ station, everyone’s having a good time, catching-up with family they probably haven’t seen in years. But Applejack notices the assembly line has stalled, so she instructs them on the process and tells them to get to work, making everypony a bit miserable.

While this is goin’ on, Apple Bloom and Babs are trying to catch up on each other’s lives, but it’s easier said then done with the activities Applejack planned.

Then Applejack announces a break…as if it’s a FUCKING WORK HOUSE!!!

So Apple Bloom and Babs finally get a chance to talk, but are pulled away by Applejack to join the hay ride. Normally a calm and relaxing experience, AJ changes things up with a high-speed chase to the west orchard, which apparently is infested with fruit bats.

She gives a swift buck to one of the trees, and the bats fly away, in a rainbow-like formation.

See, the fruit bats come in many different colours. Because each of them look like an actual fruit (or berry) with wings and a head. You know, it’s not the worst visual pun I’ve seen.

But fruit bats are naturally attracted to fruit, which just happen to adorn the hat on Apple Sauce’s head.

The bats attack the cart, sending it careening off-course. Everypony jumps out, and it smashes straight into the barn, which collapses into scrap lumber.

Well, I expected a disaster, but this is ridiculous!

This breaks Applejack’s heart, but Granny and Apple Bloom are actually happy about the accident. Look! A visual metaphor for this train wreck of a reunion!

They take the time to explain to her the same thing I opened this piece with.

Then Applejack has her best idea yet: They’re gonna rebuild this barn. They’re Apples! Manual labour is what their bred for!

It’s perfect! Unlike their earlier activities, one can actually socialize during construction…in fact I think it’s required.

Cue yet another big musical number. Now, I’ve said before I despise these things, but at least, in the past, these songs were actually good. This week, it was shit! And I’m not saying this simply because it was a country song, though that is a factor.

You see, the lyrics go thusly: Raise this barn, raise this barn; One, two, three, four.

Are you shitting me!? Is the next song gonna list off days of the week, or recite the alphabet?

I know some may see it as a minor issue, I don’t think it is. That single line is a non-sequitur, and in my opinion, it messes up the rest of the song. I hear it and I get pissed. There’s no reason for that line!

Next to this, the only singers we have here are Applejack and Apple Bloom. Which is odd, because in one scene during the song, Babs just sits there like an idiot, throwing the wood plane while Apple Bloom sings, then Applejack joins in for a duet, and Babs is still just silently sitting there. Why doesn’t she get the duet!? It seems kinda weird that she doesn’t.

And with that, they raise the barn, take a family photo, then everypony says their goodbyes and the episode ends.

So, what do I think of this episode? Better than last week, I’ll say that. Though that’s not a very high bar. I like the lesson, and it’s certainly appropriate for this time of year. Though I’m a little thrown off by Babs’ reappearance happening so soon after her first appearance. Is she gonna be a recurring character?

I find it funny, we’ve gotten quite a few new characters this season, practically every episode. I wonder if there’s a reason for that.

Next week, Applejack takes centre stage again when Spike becomes her personal slave. Bow-chicka-bow-wow-okay I’ll stop.

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