• Editorial: More Than Just a "Background Pony"

    Out of all the main characters in this show, Applejack probably gets the least amount of attention from the fandom. A lot of times she's treated like an afterthought, or just forgotten about altogether.

    That's a shame, really. While it's true that this simple farmpony doesn't go out of her way to get your attention, Applejack's still an interesting character. I'd even go so far as to say that she's a great one.

    Head on down below the break for a little character study of Applejack.


    The Common Mare

    I think it's safe to say that at this point, Applejack is the "everyman" character of the show. Rainbow Dash is a cocky flying ace, Pinkie Pie is a being that exists outside the bounds of reality, Rarity's a fashion diva, Fluttershy is a quiet beastmaster, and Twilight's a neurotic magical princess. 

    Applejack, however, is a perfectly ordinary farmer that ends up in a lot of extraordinary situations. She always approaches a problem with an upbeat, can-do attitude (unless it involves Flim and Flam). In this role, she brings a dose of reality to the group. This is typically seen when she reminds everyone of the task at hand.

    Whenever the cast starts bickering, AJ is the one that usually tries to calm everyone down. This can be seen in Castle Sweet Castle, for example.

    Everything was going so well until Rarity decided to [frock] up everything.

    In addition to this, Applejack doesn't understand or care much about things that are more fanciful or conceptual ("This is so silly! Fashion is ridiculous!"). She knows her limitations and is uncomfortable when pulled into something with which she's unfamiliar (see previous quote). Applejack tends to defer to someone with more expertise in this sort of situation. This can be seen in Made in Manehattan, where she volunteers to do the dirty work of cleaning up the stage and leaves everything else to Rarity and Coco Pommel. 

    Of course, thanks to her relationship with the other ponies (especially Rarity), she's learned to respect things like artistic expression even if she doesn't understand it. 

    "Don't go confusing me with your fancy mathematics!"

    Applejack may not necessarily be book smart ("My sister's speaking in fancy!"), but she's demonstrated time and time again that she's got one hell of a brain between her ears. She's great at figuring out what a problem is by investigating, finding all the little bits and pieces of information, and then putting it all together.

    Honestly, she'd make a great private detective.

    "Well, there's your problem."

    She's great at thinking on her hooves, too. Whenever the main six need a plan or they're brainstorming, Applejack's usually the first one to offer up an idea (The Cutie Map, Castle Sweet Castle, School Daze).

    And her ideas almost always work. Maybe this is why she's often seen as the second-in-command whenever the group goes out on an adventure (The Crystal Empire, Princess Twilight Sparkle, The Return of Harmony).

    AJ's quite the tinkerer, to boot. She can repair almost anything, and to do that she's got a toolbelt that she can whip out of nowhere at a moment's notice when things need fixing. 

    Element of Honesty

    One of Applejack's defining traits is her honesty. As Flim and Flam state in Viva Las Pegasus, "You never lie." 

    She's basically a living lie detector. Doesn't matter what someone says, if they ain't telling the truth, AJ can tell right away. This might explain why she doesn't take too kindly to Trender Hoof, along with his somewhat patronizing attitude.

    Her honest nature has also given her a bit of a reputation in Ponyville ("If Applejack says it works, that's good enough for me!"). She doesn't like this reputation being used to promote anything, and takes it very seriously (Leap of Faith). 

    But this trait is a bit of a double-edged sword. Applejack is so brutally honest, that every so often she winds up insulting somebody by accident (Honest Apple). Over time, however, she's learned to temper this bluntness with some sensitivity (My Little Pony: The Movie [2017]). 

    "Wow, Rarity. It's a fine job you're doin' there. 'Course it might not get done 'til after the concert."

    She's also got a very black and white moral worldview, and is strongly against anything she finds morally gray (basically anything involving Flim and Flam).

    The Team Mom

    Applejack is amazing at helping others deal with emotions. She's the most supportive member of the group by far, and often sacrifices a lot of her time to assist someone if they're in a bad spot (Dragonshy, Horse Play, Princess Twilight Sparkle, The Crystal Empire). And she is often the first one to notice that something is wrong with one of her friends. 

    She's also come to know her friends very well, and usually knows exactly how to cheer them up/snap them out of a delusion.

    Keyword being "usually."

    This can also work against her. She's ridiculously overprotective of Apple Bloom, and she doesn't like upsetting others. This can be seen in Leap of Faith, where she doesn't want to destroy Granny Smith's happiness, Spike at Your Service where she doesn't know how to politely get rid of Spike, and Fame and Misfortune, where she ends up taking care of a bunch of random strangers as if they were her family. 

    Lesson Learned

    When Applejack learns a lesson, it sticks to her like Flex Tape sticks to the hole in your soul. In season one, she learned that it was OK to accept help from friends, and she's kept that in mind ever since. When she learned to pay more attention to the little details instead of the big picture in Look Before You Sleep, she took it to heart so much that it became part of her hard working ethic (Apple Family Reunion and Applejack's Day Off). 

    Applejack also learned to be less paranoid, to the point where she eagerly seeks out the advice of a character that she once found terrifying (Bridle Gossip, The Cutie Pox). And she learned in The Last Roundup that it was fine to come in second, as long as you did your best.

    Note: This has been ignored by some episodes, namely Non-Compete Clause and The Cart Before the Ponies.

    She's Not Flawless, She's a Work in Progress

    Applejack's hard working attitude makes her a dependable pony that's always eager to help others, but at the same time she can get too focused on the actual work instead of the end result. This can be seen in Apple Family Reunion, where she spends so much time planning out the perfect events that she leaves the family no time to actually have fun.

    She's got a competitive nature, too, which she indulges by competing in rodeos and her long-standing friendly rivalry with Rainbow Dash. While she's not usually a braggart, this part of her can lead to her getting carried away and causing problems (Fall Weather Friends, Non-Compete Clause). 

    I said "usually," not "never."

    Something that's been making a comeback as of late is Applejack's temper/tendency to get easily frustrated. Over a Barrel sees her inadvertently escalating a conflict between the buffalo and the settler ponies, for instance. In Fall Weather Friends, Applejack spends most of the episode trying to be a good sport, only to become increasingly frustrated at Rainbow Dash's cheating in the competition. This leads to Applejack cheating as well.

     Bats! has her mostly dismissing Fluttershy's attempts at a peaceful solution to the bat infestation due to it taking too much time to implement. Pinkie Apple Pie's entire conflict is driven by Applejack's growing irritation with her family during the road trip from hell. The Mane Attraction sees her initial attempt to convince Rara of Svengallop's true intentions ending in a giant argument. 

    And A Krirn Tale just takes this trait and cranks it up until the button falls off.

    [audible frustration]

    Another flaw with Applejack is her tendency to do things without thinking ahead. An example would be lassoing a tree without realizing it would fall into the treebrary in Look Before You Sleep. At other points, she comes up with a short-term solution that doesn't work well in the long-term (Hearthbreakers, Campfire Tales, Non-Compete Clause).

    Interestingly, this may be the one flaw she's spent the most time trying to improve on, as it's the main drive behind Where The Apple Lies. Her impulsive lies created most of the problems in that episode. She's spent most of her life since then sticking to the truth.

    Everybody Loves Raymond Applejack

    Applejack has an excellent relationship with her family. While she may be overprotective of Apple Bloom, and while the whole family argues a lot, at the end of the day it's obvious that they all love each other very much and would do anything for a family member. This may not seem that important, but it does tie into Applejack's ambitions and goals in life. 

    She's content with where she is right now, but that's not to say that Applejack doesn't have ambition. Her goal in life is to run the best darn farm that she can. She takes a lot of pride in her work, and wants to ensure that her family and Sweet Apple Acres will be in Ponyville for generations to come. It's a more down to earth goal than, say, joining the Wonderbolts, but it is still a strong and admirable one. 

    algernon97 is very tired.