• "Pinkie Apple Pie": Episode Followup

    Imagine hiring Pinkie Pie to shoot your graduation/wedding/skydive/company baseball bowl. Most professional photographers will have two or three camera bodies on them at all times, enough lenses to throw very hard at eight people, and reasonable fees. All Pinkie Pie needs is one camera and her own leaf on your family tree. Resist the urge to negotiate.

    All right, you can stop imagining now. Please. She leaps free of your dreams if you don't.

    Hit the break, and let's get this followup started!

    Pinkie's a mare who knows how to have a multiverse of good times, but it's her default setting I enjoy most. If she ever runs out of things to do, she just falls back on unhinging Twilight's grasp on reality. All. The time.

    I mean, I must have replayed this conversation like 40 times by now. It's so nice to see Pinkie on the ball for once. Really, just go back and appreciate this.

    "I have no clue what she just said to me, but it sounded kinda hot and I wanna hear more."

    Throughout the season, we've seen Pinkie used as a convenient exposition device, a pudding-for-head, and a mop. Meanwhile, her fundamentally different approach of evaluating the world around her gets so overlooked that Hasbro should really be charging for the view.

    I really don't know why we don't see more of this side of Pinkie. Leveraging that part of her gives you the worst possible opponent you could imagine in Deathmatch Jenga.

    Oh, right. We do those best face an episode things, huh?

    Yeah, Pinkie's off to a stratospheric lead. But it has to be too soon to talk...

    Pop quiz: Ponka turns up at your front door like this. Which of your organ systems fails first?

    Let's get real. In exchange for being friends with Pinkie Pie, you lose your right to walk around the house without pants. What if she decides to stop by?

    Take that, nudists. The only thing protecting you from party horse are the very articles you swore to forego.


    See, we all want to make our best impressions on visiting family, but being at your best just brings the pressure. Apple Bloom's first idea for demonstrating her playfulness is the kind that gets you on the front page of BestVines. Which I guess works? The price of head trauma is hard to pin down.

    And Big Mac, don't you even front, bro. You've had easier times hauling houses and irresponsibly large, minimally-secured gateaus.

    "Wait but Couch," you might say here. "Don't you think there's anything strange about Pinkie being happy with a family that spends much of its days doing farmwork and chores? Anything magical or mysterious in particular?"

    Well, yeah. Taking care of a farm would suck if you were the only hoof around, but that's not usually the case. Pinkie's been helping AJ out in the orchards since "Applebuck Season". My question is: if Pinkie becomes an Apple Pie, will Rarity have to sit Sweetie Belle down for some bad news?

    Cereal wanted me to point out how well the scroll assets have aged with the show. Who remembers Lesson Zero? You now feel a little more geriatric than you previously did.

    Hi, Applejack. Welcome to first place in best face.

    Oooh! Here's a group entry into the competition. For feathers' sakes, Big Macs are such freakin' goofuses. I want 20. And gimme 40 of Pinkie, because I'm still miffed I can't find a good vector of the time she smiled into Rainbow Dash's sun reflector in "Too Many Pinkie Pies".

    Cute shot, but hold the pony phone. Pinkie was nodding at something before everyone yelled "family road trip!", and only after she grinds on that for a while does she go along with it.

    Just what was she thinking Applejack was thinking her family was thinking?

    I wonder if Applejack has ever realized her every attempt to make things perfect always ends in disaster? Maybe she's meant for Twilight. I'm joking! Applejack's heart belongs elsewhere.

    Anyway, have we seen a 7/8ths view of Granny Smith in show before? I never realized that was how her bun worked.

     Oh, c'mon. You know which bun I'm talking about.

    Yes, Apple Bloom. You are adorable.

    Welp. Are you ready for what's coming up next? You weren't ready. You couldn't have been ready. DHX had months to sit on this next part, and I doubt even they were ready.

    None of y'all were ready! I had to rip this gif myself 'cause Derpibooru certainly didn't have it! For shame! You deserve the dithering. Get me a better rip, please, because this is by far some of the most sublime animation the season's given us this far.

    I mean, I could probably just type for ten screens about this song as a whole and call it a complete followup. If you haven't watched the show-animatic comparison we posted yesterday, give that a watch. The crews at DHX and Top Draw continue to push Flash beyond conventional and rational limits, but you see stuff like this in boards and you realize just what doesn't make it into final animation:

    Hattest of hat tips to Emmett Hall for boarding this song, according to episode partner Tony Cliff. Big Macintosh throws that wagon around the same way this fandom does with episodes... uh, con brio.

    Applejack and her family aren't complicated ponies. This song here pretty much does for apples and family what "Generosity" did for Rarity just last week. We've seen this before, heard this before, turned it into a mill of thought-free archetyping without needing to involve cumbersome discussions. But I really think there's something to be said for embracing the parts that make you you, cynicism be damned, and I'm hoping you at least found it hard not to clap and sing along at least once or twice this song. If you listen real closely, you can even hear Shannon Chan-Kent rounding off the harmony with some exquisite soprano work on Pinkie's part.

    I'm also really happy that we're getting longer songs, too. Daniel's consistently surpassing two-minute marks with his soundtrack this season, even without including reprises. I've always felt like songs came and left in the past two seasons before they could really settle in and deliver, especially since our music base from season 1 encompassed "Winter Wrap Up", "Art of the Dress", and "At the Gala". More verses and choruses also mean more time to screencap ponies, like so:

    Using umbrellas as two ends of an apple core, endangering the elderly (aka comedy), fashioning a instrument out of balloons (therefore giving the world's first undroppable but poppable bass), and proving that everything but the kitchen sink just isn't gonna cut it an Apple family road trip.

    I listened to this song at least a hundred times after SDCC, and I'm liable to keep listening to it even more now. Easily my pick for this season's best song.

    I guess Daniel first thought otherwise?
    Man, this would have hurt if I actually had any self-esteem to injure.

    Reality ensues shortly thereafter, illustrating that it is important to put the cart before the horse sometimes.

    Scrying from afar, Twilight reflects upon how this could have been her the whole episode. Ponyville hears laughter for three days and three nights.

    No one looks at a river as a means of transportation without thinking about waterfalls, dysentery, rapids, dysentery, dysentery rapids, and the one trip to the ED that taught them the downsides of punching monitors filled with all kinds of frangible silicon and glass -- not necessarily in that order. The Oregon Trail connects us all in suffering.

    Then again, the pioneers never had Pank Pank with them, either.

    Then again, f*** fording rivers.

    Apple Bloom's had enough experience with tree sap to know where this fate train's pulling into station.

    Flash photography does have its legitimate uses outdoors! If your light source is behind your subject and you don't want a Polaroid of a shadow, blind that sucker, then run from the inevitable retaliation.

    Then there's Big Macintosh, instantly coming to terms with what would happen should his buddies at the Moose Lodge ever know about Quacks McGee, Floatie Extraordinaire.

    I never expected the writers to pull a crossover fic in the actual show. Mabel Pie is canon.

    "I thought that only worked for skydiving, and boy was I right!"

    This happened.

    You wanna know what else happened? Life jackets. Awful considerate of Big Macintosh to pack them on a route that never should have seen water in the first place.

    That framed painting, on the other hoof? You never know when you need to start a fire with a good knock-off Manet.

    Tactical eagles, coming soon to a licensed Equestrian Innovations dealer near you. Or to you directly, if you're not a wuss. Take some sunforsaken initiative for once and live in the mountains until the eagles accept you as the own, then learn their fatal arts.

    I'll let y'all caption this one. Just remember: volcanic rage.

    It's only coincidence that "Castle Mane-ia" was the other episode I've written a followup for this season, and this scene here cements Pinkie as my vote for Most Daring Pony. Bees don't faze her. What hope would the scariest cave in Equestria have of changing that? 

    It's fun to be scared sometimes, right? And Granny's a deft hoof at scary tales, as we've heard before.

    One cave later:

    "Place ain't ever been the same since they set up the Barnyard Bargains outlet in there."

    It takes more than a pretty face to get ahead in the best face competition. Applejack is so done with this situation that she traveled back in time to write its definition for Webstirrup's first dictionary.

    Time travel being what it is, you don't see her leave before she comes back.

    I'm laughing so hard at this that I just can't make any sound. GFDI


    "What is it, my son?"

    "When will I learn to guide the eagles?"

    "My son, there is no guiding the eagles. There is only placing yourself at the bottom of their murder list, because they're laser-guided, list-keeping assholes. Remember this."

    Here we have a scene I can put into no better words than what my colleague Aquaman has provided. This is the moment Pinkie Pie wins the Selfie Olympics.

    This is no country for old men and their phones.

    Hey, at least nothing broke on the way down! Everyone made it out just fine in the end :D


    I'm so glad they brought that back. They should get Pinkie to try pronouncing banana, but that'd probably take a two-parter.

    Scenes like this are different than Pinkie Pie mistaking Bridleway tickets for the leaves of a paper fan. She embodies the Element of Laughter. Finding all the ways she can enjoy what's in front of her is just the job description, even if other ponies don't lateral her way.

    So while Pinkie Pie continues her unnerving talent of finding things in places she has no business looking (a bakery 65 blocks away from the action, a Jo-├éne's in the bush), the Apple family takes some time for a long-needed moment of healing.

    Then this bit happened. I heard a world of rustled fedoras and faiths renounced. Oh, music.

    Scrunchy face.

    Goldie Delicious needs no introduction, though I do caution everyone to pay attention and not confuse this mare with Golden Delicious, who showed up in "Friendship is Magic, Part 1".

    Mostly, I just like Goldie's cats.

    I don't know what's up with wall-eyed cats being adorable, but I really hope they don't get censored out in future broadcasts.

    I did get pretty grossed out by this part, though. I've been in houses like Goldie's before. They make me glad Smell-O-Vision doesn't exist.

    Dusty cat. Oh, the fandom chuckled.

    And man, I would not want to play Jenga against this mare, either. Incidentally enough, Goldie's voice comes courtesy of one Peter New, best known for his breakout performance as a delivery man in Seven Days, a TV series from 2000.

    I can't help but feel this is important somehow. I mean, we've seen Pinkie tell stack architecture to go f*** itself and wrote in an array-like access method that kept the whole object stable. Who's her VA, again? Andrea Libman? Sounds about right.

    Heh. Imagine if she and Peter got together and squared off IRL. Jenga would never be the same again.

    The only reason Pinkie doesn't draw a horn here is because she already has one. It just grew the other way and she survived.

    This scene was fleeting, but crucial. Pinkie needs moments of vulnerability and disappointment as much as the next pony, or else her super crazy hyper antics have no counterbalance. She's not mad at suffering Apple family bickering, or that she wasted her time coming out. She would even get over being told their lineages were divergent.

    She's most hurt not knowing either way -- those smudges in the record would appear just the same every time she has to see any member of the Apple family. It's a deeper burden than most people realize.

    Dramatic lighting trick presaging affirmation. Turn to page 181 of your drama texts, everyone.

    To be honest, I'm still more puzzled with all the extra hooves she put up in "A Friend in Deed". Tail extensions are Equestrian canon.

    And great reflexes, Pinkie, but I'm sure Professor Oak already has a candidate lined up for shooting Pokemon Island.

    Meanwhile, Pinkie ruins every single one of my fanfics where I have her storing stuff in her tail. I'll be fine. It's totally not 4 AM and I didn't procrastinate on this thing again and am in no way emotionally compromised right now.

    And technically, the Apples dumped their stuff with Goldie, 'cause I didn't see anything except their tushies in that wagon they rolled off in. I'm coming up with theories about how she gets on with the relatives -- we didn't see her at the Apple Family Reunion, mind (which means Applejack's parents are just chilling with Coulson on the Bifrost or something and are totally fine (I'm not in denial)).

    Oh, I made myself sad.

    "I told Twilight about the cave and the waterfall, but she wasn't interested until I told her 'bout that one time we almost kissed. You don't think that's odd, do you?"

    Keep being perfect, Pinkie.

    It's incredible that the new writers understand that Pinkie's offbeat, not random. If Spike ever had to talk to someone other than Twilight about being flat comic relief this season, Pinkie would have had a cupcake and a cup of cocoa out for the little guy. The both of them are tricky characters to write, and that Natasha Levinger spent her first MLP episode resuscitating Pinkie's character puts me much more at ease with the episodes featuring her to come.

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to listen to that song for another hour. Thank you for reading.

    CouchCrusader, out.

    P.S.: And for those of you who think this episode was missing its contractually-obligated "or is it?" moment, Chaotic Note found this. W-what