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8 January 2012

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. "Family Appreciation Day" REVIEW

Drawings! Videos! Music! New episode! Get it! Download it! What the hell, it’s on available for Spaniards!? Damnit! Where do I go!? What do I do!? Wait, did Hasbro just do what? Oh, nice, beautiful, now these guys have ruined my entire archive order and I have to re-number all the folders. So yes, I am so wrapped up on doing stuff that I forgot that post Sethisto made on Equestria Daily a few months ago. You know, that post that basically explained how the Hub was pulling a Christopher Nolan on us, and released the episodes out of order. Meaning, episode 11 is not episode 11 but episode 13, and episode 12 is in fact episode 11. They did so in order to have a Christmas episode; surely thinking that two weeks gap between episodes 2 and 3 wasn’t going to be a problem. But we have new ponies, and more Equestrian history to destroy fanon, so let’s sit back and enjoy the episode. Then, let’s review it!

But of course, here goes my typical TL;DR for those of you who don’t want to spend five minutes of your lives reading what a brony with too much free time on his hands (hooves? I’m not going that far guys) thinks of the newest installment in our favorite pastel colored ponies lives. Is the episode good? For the last time guys, yes, it is good. It’s the best episode of the season? No, but it has one of the best moments of the entire series. And if you are like me, and you have too much free time in your hands, stay around and I will tell you why.

So the episode starts with the stream channel going down. Nice! Just kidding, the episode starts with Granny Smith running around the farm at night, wearing a bunch of pans and screaming for something called “Timber Wolves”. She screams that this signifies the coming of the Zap Apples. What’s a Zap Apple you may ask? Well apparently it’s a kind of special apple that grows in Sweet Apple Acres at random intervals, that has the property of growing really fast, and disappears in five days. This sets a new event for Applebloom, as she has never seen these apples before, and she can’t wait to make jam out of them with Granny Smith. The only problem is that Granny starts acting way cookier than usual. I use that term because, that’s the only way I can describe her behavior. She bounces over water cans dressed as a bunny. She paints pink dots on the house’s walls, talks to the bees and sends a glass jar to a martial court. It’s during this part of the episode that things tend to go real slow. I like a good pacing as much as the next pony, but at times the first ten minutes feel like an episode in itself. I don’t think that’s too bad though. We get a chance to see how the life in the farm is. We get a closer look at all the mechanics of growing this kind of apples, and we see the apple family just doing what they do in a daily basis. It’s like poking your head through a window and looking at the people that live inside a house, minus the whole stalking problem. It’s slow, but it’s really interesting.

The Big Brother contestants on Day 1.
However, my enthusiasm (as watered as it is, it’s still enthusiasm) is not shared by Applebloom, who starts to feel ashamed of Granny Smith’s behavior in front of Diamond Tiara and her father, a business pony named Filthy Rich. So we have the basic, and very well known, plot point where Applebloom is embarrassed by her family and she tries everything in her hooves to stay away from it. Things get even worse when Cheerilee asks her to bring Granny Smith to talk about her family’s history. So yes, it’s basically that same plot where the kid has his or her grandpa going to school, they make an ass of themselves and they spend the rest of the episode mopping about it. Right? Well, not at all. I will come right out and say I don’t watch much television, so the way they handled this plot device is actually clever, and slightly ballsy. Instead of having Applebloom hide away from Granny Smith, she actually tries to get rid of her. She sends her off in a train, only to have her coming back. She tries to puppet her to make Cheerilee believe she can’t go (which results in one of those moments where I start laughing out silly). She even tries to harvest the Zap Apples with the help of Scootaloo and Sweetie Belle, which ends with slapsticky results. 

And a lot of regrets the morning after.
As hard as Applebloom tries, she just can’t stop Granny Smith from coming to class and tell a story to the fillies and colts in there. What story you may ask? Well, none other but the story of how Ponyville was founded. Apparently, Granny Smith and her family moved to Canterlot from their origin town, and were offered an orchard to grow apples by Princess Celestia herself. The only problem though, was that apple trees take a long time to grow, and the family was at the edge of starvation. So one night Granny Smith ventured herself in the Everfree Forest, and found a new type of apple growing in the trees. They were big, rainbow colored, and their branch was shaped like a lightning bolt: Zap Apples. The only problem though is that they were guarded by a dreadful creature, the Timber Wolves. Which, yeah, are just wolves made out of tree bark, but they look so cool! However Granny Smith was faster and smarter than them. She ran back home and started banging a cauldron with a pan, because loud noises do harm predators’ hearing. It was the next morning when the Apple family discovered how Zap Apples work, and how you have to take careful steps to make jam out of them. How you have to encourage glass jars; or how you have to treat the bees kindly so their honey is very sweet; or how singing to the water affects the way the trees grow; or how the Zap Apples like pink dots on the walls. Thanks to all those methods, the Zap Apple Jam became really popular, so popular that ponies came to their farm just to buy it. Then more came to stay. Soon enough a community grew around them. And that’s how Ponyville was founded.

Don't you dare!
By the time the presentation is over, all the fillies and colts in the class have their mouths open, eyes wide in shock at this tale. They applaud Granny Smith, and Applebloom calls out Diamond Tiara for trying to ridicule her. Sadly, Diamond Tiara reacts the only way she knows: Insulting Granny Smith some more, by calling her “kooky old lady”. “She’s not a kooky old lady! She’s the most special pony in Ponyville!” calls Applebloom as she hugs her grandmother. And then cue the manly tears. Quite a lot of them, I must say. This isn’t new coming from me, as I cry with everything, but even my best friend, the Element of Stoicism, was getting teary during that scene. That moment alone deserves its own little Mini-Emmy for writing. However, it does come with a few complains. This is all nitpicky, so I’ll keep it to a minimum.


First of all, why don’t they know about the town’s history? Being the origin story of Ponyville one would think they’ll talk about it in class. But maybe I have a solution for this plot hole, and that is the fact that these kids are still that, kids. Many kids are not told the origin of their towns and cities in history class until they grow older, so it might make sense why they wouldn’t know about it. Besides, it gives Cheerilee a motivation to have Granny Smith coming to class, because she’ll have the chance to give kids an important lesson on history.

The second plot hole that I encounter is the start of the origin story itself. If we take Winter Wrap Up for true canon, then it does make sense what they say there. Ponyville was founded by Earth Ponies, and that’s exactly what we see: Earth Ponies founding Ponyville. However, it also says it happened centuries ago. So, unless Granny Smith is centuries old, I really don’t know how this is possible. But the age is never clear in Equestria. We only know the ages of Celestia and Luna, who are over a thousand years old. Besides, time works different in Equestria. The days are of sixteen hours instead of twenty four. One might argue that their days, weeks, and months, even though they are the same as here, are also shorter. So maybe in one equestrian century we can have like two human centuries. I’m not sure, I’m just making stuff up to cover those two plot holes that don’t affect my enjoyment of this episode in any way. You guys let me know if they sound valid or ridiculous.

Besides, we all know the biggest plothole of the show is Diamond Tiara.
So that was “Family Appreciation Day of the Most Forgettable Title in the Series”. How is it? I loved it. I wouldn’t call it one of my favorite episodes of the season, but it was really good for those who are Apple Family fans. Their day to day life was cool to watch. It was nice to see them work as a team. Applebloom is still the most adorable badass in the surface of the planet. And we discovered a few more things besides the origin of Ponyville.

I will start talking about the new male pony on the show, and about Diamond Tiara’s family in general. Coming from them one would expect Filthy Rich to be a stuck up douchenuzzle with little to no heart, but he actually is quite likeable. I mean, he’s not Fancy Pants, but he definitely isn’t Prince Blueblood. He treats ponies politely, and he is really nice to Granny Smith. This shows how Diamond Tiara is a bitch (because she is, and this episode proves it) because she IS a bitch, not because she was grown to be one. Her family is nice. She’s not a spoiled brat. She’s just like that, which makes her a very flat character in my eyes. There’s no motivation for her to be a bitch, she just is. I understand those who call her worst pony, and to be honest she pretty much is, especially for how poor her personality is built. It blows though, because she was one of my guilty pleasure characters, one I wanted to see only because I loved to hate her. Now, she just bores me. Her father is more interesting though.

The other thing we learned in this episode is how powerful the connection between Earth Ponies and nature is. Unicorns can create magic spells through studying. Pegasi can move clouds and control the weather. Earth ponies can grow trees with lightning and water. That’s pretty cool, and it answers a question we all had in mind. How do Earth ponies connect with the land? Well, that way. And it’s an awesome way.
- Defining Moment: The entire flashback and its ending. She definitely is the most amazing pony in all Ponyville.

- Moral: Don’t be ashamed of your loved ones, and don’t forget to appreciate what they do for you. This is something we tend to forget too often guys.


  1. I honestly wasn't touched by the end, not shure why, i think it was a little too predictible. I knew that Apple Bloom was going to stand by Granny Smith as soon as I read the summary on EqD.

    But still, we know that my little pony at is worst is avarage for the rest of the cartoon industry standards, and this one is still pretty good.

    Also I'm happy that it was an apple family focused episode, i really like Applejack so I want mor focus on her because if it was just for the amout of good episodes she would be my least favorite. But I still want an applejack oriented episode as good as Suited For sucess.

  2. @Evil Monkey

    I agree with you, and I said it every time I have the chance to. MLP:FiM's worst episode, is as good as some of the best episodes of other TV Shows.

  3. This episode is one of the weakest in MLP: FIM, especially if we consider that it was written by Cindy Morrow (Sisterhooves Social).
    I agree with Evil Monkey, I loved that this episode was Apple Family centered and to get a look how they work as a family, but leaving that, there wasn't so many memorable scenes; except in the way the zap apples grow, and the story of Granny Smith fighting with the timberwolves and how she was an important part in the founding of Ponyville.

  4. @schris3

    Wholeheartedly agree sir.

    I think "Sisterhooves Social" is great. What do you mean when you say "one of the weakest, especially if we consider that it was written by Cindy Morrow"? Is it because you were expecting something better than what we got? In which case, I quite agree with you.

  5. I read these reviews every week when they come out, and I look forward to more! The background music during the flashback was very beautiful.

  6. @Jordan

    Thank you Sir/Ma'am! I'm planning to review the entirety of the series as it keep going, so expected reviews every week ^_^ I'm happy that you look forward to them, that fires me up to keep writing.

  7. Maybe DT's mom is a bitch?

    Also, zap apples seem inherently magical.

    1. Maybe she is, yeah.

      Zap Apples are definitely magical. Earth Ponies do have a conection to earth, like Lauren Faust once said.